Saturday, 21 January 2012
The starling murmuration in its glory days at the derelict West Pier in Brighton. I took these photos in winter before the fires of 2003 stripped the pier to a skeleton of girders.
Most of the tens of thousands of starlings have gone, scattered to roost elsewhere. Now the great murmurations are spectacles only in the memory.
I post this because of a tremendous BBC Radio 4 feature that went out last week. It is called The Ghost Roost. I can't praise it enough. It is built of sound recordings made inside the concert hall of the old pier before the arson attacks, by wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson and sound designer Thor McIntyre Burnie. There is also commentary about the starlings and the pier in their respective primes. The programme was produced by Sarah Blunt, who I want to be when I grow up.
Some birds still return to the pier to roost, as this recent video shows, but The Ghost Roost reminds me how magnificent the murmurations used to be.